Walking down the Parkway surrounded by friends

On September 30, the Four Seasons held its yearly Parkway Run & Walk to benefit cancer research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. It was a beautiful Sunday morning, and I was running late.

I am an ambassador for CHOP and was asked to start the race. I caught the subway and made it down there just in time. My parents were not especially pleased (and I did not feel that great about it, either) that I did not make it there with enough time to see my squad members before the race. I did see all the members of Team Rotzy eventually, though. I immediately went to the stage next to the starting line, which took a little effort to locate in the midst of around 9,000 people.

During the opening ceremonies the other ambassadors and I were brought on stage and mentioned. Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee and his wife Kristen were event chairs, so Kristen as well as their son, Jaxon, were brought up on stage. (Cliff could not attend because the Phillies were in Florida finishing a series with the Marlins). Those who accumulated the most donations handed their giant novelty checks to CHOP representatives, and then it was time to start the race.

I was a little nervous. Public speaking was never really my favorite activity. I only had to say a handful of words, but as I mentioned earlier, there were thousands of people there. I was handed an air-horn and the microphone and preceded, “Attention runners. On your mark. Get set. GO!” The runners took off, and I jumped off stage with a huge smirk on my face.

I had every intention of attempting to do the run a few weeks before then. I was well aware that I would have had to walk more than half of it. I wound up bailing though when they asked me to start off the race. I did the walk instead.

I still had a decent time on the 5k though; my friend Jeff did not have his bib so I gave him mine. I walked down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with my family, friends and thousands of others to support one cause, a cure to pediatric cancers. We cheered as our family and friends ran down the parkway to finish their 5k’s as we continued toward the Art Museum. We finished with a breakfast provided by the Four Seasons.

There was something about this day that just made me feel especially fantastic. I always knew I was never alone, but it is an amazing feeling to know and see over 40 people I personally know, and thousands of others that I do not, support the battle that I and others have fought or are fighting.